This year is a particularly special year for women around the world. Why you ask? Because it's a leap year. According to an old Irish tradition, February 29th is the one acceptable day of the year in which a woman can propose marriage to her potential husband.
Although, now that we are in the midst of the 21st century, a woman is completely capable and free to ask her man to marry her on any day of the year. No questions asked, right? Well, according to a study conducted at the University of California, despite gender roles changing significantly over the past century, men and women are still fairly traditional when it comes to marriage. Two-thirds of students responded that they most definitely wanted the man to propose, while 2.8 percent of women responded that they were open to the idea. Not one student male or female answered that they definitely want the woman to get down on one knee. When the surveyors questioned the female students' answers, one student responded that a woman proposing would be "very awkward."
Millenials are more likely to follow the cultural tradition of a man proposing and older couples are more open to the idea of the woman asking for a man's hand in marriage. Many young men and women who unknowingly engage in benevolent sexism are more likely to follow tradition.
Sociology professor, Beth Montemurro of Pennsylvania State University thinks social media is the blame for a lack of women proposing engagement. Millenials post nearly every part of their lives on Facebook and Twitter, and they are ultimately afraid of how others will react to their decisions. Many young women refuse to propose out of fear of gender roles such as who will purchase the engagement ring, fear of losing their femininity, and fear of rejection. Men fear that being proposed to robs them of their masculinity.
Whatever the reason women are not proposing, we want to know what you think about this ever-changing tradition.
Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.